I am aware that many people who do not know (much) about buddhism usually refer to Gautama/Shakyamuni when simply saying "Buddha" or "the Buddha" but is this reason enough to have a tag?

Originally coming from a Pure Land/Mahāyāna tradition I learned much more about Amitābha than Gautama and so the latter was way less important to me and calling him "the buddha" would have confused and mislead me.

So why not have a proper tag that is used for him?

The only "downside" I see would be that people don't properly tag (let's say they would otherwise...) , but retagging is imo the simplest form of editing and least work. So even this argument won't really hold.

It is rather an argument for changing. Imagine someone using and then seeing that it was changed to . When wondering why that happens OP will probably educate him/herself a bit more on why there isn't "one Buddha".

3 Answers 3


I don't think it is terribly misleading - Wikipedia notes that the historical Buddha is generally understood to be "The Buddha"; Straight Dope says the two terms are synonymous, etc.

I wouldn't think appropriate, since that is a clan name.

might work, but it's still a bit confusing, since there have been lots of Buddhas in the past.

Maybe would work in cases where the asker is specifically talking about that particular Buddha, but I think for most people the tag simply means Buddha, in a general sense, rather than specifying one. For example, what should we tag a question about why all Buddhas are born with 32 characteristics of a great man, besides ?

  • 2
    I endorse using gautama-buddha as a tag since it is clear, unambiguous, and will be easy to fill out a wiki for without confusion. As a second preference I'd go with the-buddha, I dislike historic-buddha since–as yuttadhammo points out–there have been a lot of them.
    – Hrafn
    Commented Jul 4, 2014 at 19:28

I would suggest to use a tag . It would still have Buddha word in it, but it would also imply that we mean a real person rather than a Buddhahood or some specific Buddha form.

  • Good idea! Tbh I don't know how meta discussion work, should I wait for more responses?
    – kero
    Commented Jul 4, 2014 at 14:12

Personally, first time I saw the-buddha it was not immediately apparent to me what it was referring to. In this sense, gautama-buddha or historical-buddha would be more obvious, except I would flip the two parts, to help the autocomplete function as the user types the tag: buddha-gautama. The other buddhas and buddha in general could be tagged as buddha-a or buddhas or buddhas-of-the-three-times or buddha-eternal.

  • 1
    As far as I can see, we don't need it to be flipped for autocomplete. For example typing in "budd" under tags brings up tibetan-buddhism chinese-buddhism etc.
    – Robin111
    Commented Jul 8, 2014 at 1:20
  • awesome, did not test that :-P So shall we rename the-buddha to gautama-buddha then?
    – Andriy Volkov Mod
    Commented Jul 8, 2014 at 1:27
  • Currently the description for the-buddha is "For questions about the Buddha (Siddartha Gautama) as a person - his life, sayings, actions, etc." Does it make sense to just add a tag for Amida/Amitabha-buddha?
    – Robin111
    Commented Jul 8, 2014 at 1:31
  • We could do that, but where is fun in that, boys like to be precise ;) Why is Gautama Buddha "the" they ask, and indeed, perhaps the Eternal Buddha or the Primordial Buddha are better positioned to be "the" than a mere nirmanakaya:)
    – Andriy Volkov Mod
    Commented Jul 8, 2014 at 1:38

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